Earning a Psychology Degree
The field of psychology is captivating for many people who are interested in the science behind human behavior. There are a variety of career options available for students who wish to obtain their undergraduate degree, as well as for people who wish to complete graduate school. Not only do psychology degrees open the door to fulfilling job opportunities, but people can progress in a career field where they enjoy doing something they love.
Since there are many areas of practice that are available to people interested in the field of psychology, it is important to understand what types of psychology degrees are required for each position. When deciding on a program, keep in mind there are schools that offer an online psychology degree, which may work well for students who are unable to enroll in an on-campus program.
Undergraduate Psychology Degrees
Undergraduate psychology degrees can take anywhere from two to four years to complete, depending on what type of degree the student is interested in. Although they are not as advanced as a graduate degree, associate’s and bachelor’s degrees give graduates several opportunities.
Associate’s Degree in Psychology
This degree takes a dedicated student approximately two years to complete. Some students choose to obtain their associate’s degree from an accredited community college and then transfer their credits to a university if they wish to continue in the field of psychology. Many people use this degree as a stepping stone toward furthering their education with a bachelor’s or graduate-level degree.
Career options for people who have an associate’s degree in psychology may be limited. However, there are opportunities available. Students could secure a position as a psychiatric technician or rehabilitation aide after completing a minimum of 32 hours credit, depending on state requirements.
Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology
Once students have received their associate’s degree in psychology, they may enroll in a bachelors program. This four-year degree allows students to choose between a Bachelors of Science or a Bachelors of Arts degree.
Students who plan on entering a psychology specialty that involves using applied skills may want to choose a Bachelors of Arts. This degree may be combined with other fields of study, including journalism, nursing, social work or education. The Bachelor of Science degree, on the other hand, is geared toward students who want to explore research training positions. This includes studies that are focused in chemistry, math, physics and biology in addition to general psychology courses.
People who obtain a bachelor’s degree are just one step closer to earning a graduate degree. There are limited careers available with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Potential positions include career counselors, case managers and rehabilitation specialists. This degree can also help professionals in other career fields, such as education, health care and marketing.
Master’s Degree in Psychology
One of the most popular degree options in the field of psychology is the master’s degree. In order to get a Master’s Degree in Psychology, students must get accepted into and go through a master’s degree program. Students can decide whether they want a Master of Arts or Master of Science degree, much like the bachelor’s degree program.
- Educational Summary: A master’s degree program can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Depending on the student’s ultimate career goals, there are different programs available. While some programs concentrate on getting students ready to enter the workforce as a professional with a master’s degree in psychology, other programs prepare students to further their education in a doctorate program.
- Career Choices: Students who graduate with a master’s degree in psychology have a diverse selection of career options, including opportunities in business, government agencies, education, mental health and health care. Just a few of the many job titles that are available include behavioral counselor, human resources manager and social services manager.
Achieving a Ph.D. in Psychology
Otherwise referred to as a Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology, a Ph.D. in Psychology is a doctorate-level degree. The doors of opportunity are open for graduates with this level of degree.
- Educational Summary: Obtaining a Ph.D. in Psychology can take students five to seven years of post-graduate study. This degree is more intense and focused on research; however, applied training and theoretical studies are also a major component of this degree. Students can choose to concentrate their studies on a specific specialty, such as psychotherapy, development, social, clinical or counseling. In addition to coursework, students are required to complete an internship and supervised practicum. This preparation may prove to be vital to the student once they graduate and begin their careers.
- Career Choices: There are many amazing opportunities for people with doctorate degrees in psychology. Graduates can choose a career based upon their interests. While some graduates may want to open a private practice, others may concentrate on research. Still others may choose to become an educator and help others in their journey to achieve a Ph.D. in Psychology.
Becoming a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)
Graduates of this doctorate-level program emerge with a Psy.D. Degree or Doctor of Psychology degree. This program concentrates on the professional aspect of psychology, although it does involve some research and technical training as well. Different psychology degree programs will vary in their course material and instruction techniques.
- Educational Summary: During this four to seven year program, students are able to gain experience in conducting psychological evaluations, diagnosing different mental conditions and performing clinical interventions. Students must complete a one-year internship under the direction of a licensed psychologist. This internship is usually full-time and gives the student real-world practice in a professional setting. Once students complete all of the required courses, internship and practicum, they are able to take the national and state licensing tests. After passing these tests, students will have all of the powers given to a Doctor of Psychology.
- Career Choices: This degree is an alternative to the Ph.D. and offers graduates the ability to assess, diagnose and treat patients. A Doctor of Psychology is a perfect option for people who wish to open their own practices.